Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Djanogly Lakeside Theatre

Today we went to Beeston to park and catch the tram to Nottingham University.  This is a good and relatively inexpensive way of getting into Nottingham.
Our first call was at the Djanogly Gallery to see the extension of the Chinese Dinosaurs exhibition.  This is the free access part of the display which includes two mounted dinosaur skeletons and a number of cast specimens, including three pterosaurs.
The main purpose of this visit was to attend the "Not your father's pterosaurs" talk by Mark Witton, which was bases at Nottingham Lakeside Arts on the University Campus.
The theatre was set for the Jungle Book, which was an appropriate stage set for the talk. This was a stroll through the pterosaurs, from origins to extinction, looking at the evidence and ideas that have been inspired by finds over the last 20 years or so.
There was nothing new to me, but it did leave me with the feeling that Mark's logic and approach to this group of animals was well aligned with my own views on the subject.  What a good talk.




Sunday, 9 July 2017

Humming Bird Hawk Moth

This is a first for me - whilst sat on the garden bench yesterday evening to watch the foxes.  The cubs skitted off when they became aware of my presence, but Mrs Fox settled on the raised bed at the other end of the garden and relaxed, in full sight of me.  She is comfortable in the garden, as long as I am more than 6 feet away from her.
At this time, a fast insect flew by and started to move around the Valerian flowers a few feet away from me.  After a few attempts to focus with my camera I could see that it was a Humming Bird Hawk Moth.  I could hear the wing beat and this little Lepidopteran was moving around like greased lightning, spending less than half a second on each flower.
I have seen dead and preserved examples of this moth, but this is the first time I have been able to photograph a live one.  They feed on  the wing, inserting their long proboscis into the flowers to drink the nectar.  The thing that impressed me was the noise of the wings and the speed of the moth.  It is a well focused and very agile creature.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

oh Deer

 The red deer are in velvet at the moment.  This old boy at Wollaton Park, Nottingham has been around for years.  I have photographed him on may occasions.
The younger stags are socially herding and resting in groups.  This will all change when they shed their velvet and start to challenge each other for the hinds.  No doubt, there will be bits of antler on the parkland in a few months.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Summer in the Garden

 The best way to improve the appearance of our garden has always been to cut the lawns.  When the sun comes out, it looks so good on photographs at this time of year.
 The greenhouse is also looking good, with courgettes and tomatoes, lettuce and herbs being harvested at present.
 One of the beds beside the pond was overrun with grass and weeds, so I have removed the soil.  There is now a weed proof barrier over the old ground and a layer of compost above.  The sheeting and batons are there to protect the compost from invasive weeds until we can plant out the bed.
The garden serves many needs and is a sanctuary to many of the local wildlife,  including Mrs Fox and her cubs.  There are not many places where wild urban foxes can feel relaxed.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Damsel Flies

Over the past couple of days we have walked locally at Westport Lakes and at Consal Forge.  I noticed that I had a number of photographs of Damsel flies, showing a range of species.
 Large Red Damsel Fly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)
 Common Blue Damsel Fly (Enallagma cyathigerum)
 Banded Demoiselle female (Calopteryx splendins)
 Western Demoiselle (Calopteryx xanthostoma)
 Azure Damsel Fly (Coenagrion puella)
I could not end without this picture of  a pair of wild Bremen geese with yellow goslings.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Landing at Scatsta

Approaching Sollum Voe from the north, keeping to the north and west of the oil terminus, my Piper Cherokee is at about 1000 feet.
Turning into Sollum Voe we need to fly south into the circuit for the Runway at Scatsta, maintaining about 100 knots airspeed.
As we pass the loading docks, we can descend to 800 feet on approach, keeping to the west side of the water. Landing light on, fuel to full rich.
The crosswind turn brings our aircraft within sight of the runway at Scatsta. First flap position and start a descent to 500 feet.
Turn into finals and line up with the runway second flap position at 1 mile out, throttle back and approach at 80 knots, descending to the precision markings, about 500 feet along the runway.
Across the threshold and descending, ready to rotate at about 15 feet.
Throttle to 15% and applying brakes with full flaps engaged.
Turn off onto the taxiway, flaps to fully up, landing light off
Park and switch off engine, lights and master electrics, apply parking brake and chock the wheels.  Off to the cafe for a snack and a rest.

X-Plane 11 and my own addon scenery.

Thursday, 25 May 2017


 A recent coffee break at Cosford gave me an opportunity to see the Junkers 88 night fighter bomber which has recently been moved there from RAF Hendon Museum.  It is in the WW2 hanger being assembled after transit.
 The nose cone has just been mounted, showing the gun port resesses and the fixings for the radar antennae.
 The radar antennae and flight controles are laid out under the fuselage ready for fixing.
 This is a picture from my album taken in 1975, when this aircraft was at RAF St Athan in South Wales.  At that time it was being restored to its original condition ready for display at RAF Hendon.
Outside the restoration hanger at RAF Cosford Museum is the fuselage of a Hawker Hurricane in early colours.  The paintwork looks as if it is the original 1940 paint, a little worse for wear.